On May 18, 1954, Raleigh, North Carolina’s, The News and Observer broke the news of the Supreme Court’s decision to declare public school segregation unconstitutional to weary Tar Heel citizens. The newspaper published this photo of Governor William B. Umstead as he looked over wire dispatches of the ruling. The governor stated that he was “terribly disappointed” by the outcome of Brown v. Board of Education.
Over the next several months, Governor Umstead appointed a committee to oversee the state’s response to Brown. However, the governor would never receive the committee’s report and recommendations. On November 7, 1954, Governor Umstead passed away after a severe cold affected his already weakened heart.